Undoubtedly the Russell Wilson experiment has been a HUGE success. On the heels of the greatest single season by a QB from Wisconsin could the Badgers become the home of transfer QB's once again next year? According to this report on JSOnline.com that's exactly what could happen next season. Former Notre Dame signal caller and one time starter Dayne Crist has been granted his release and is looking at Wisconsin as one of the possible schools to transfer to.
He's in the same situation as Russell Wilson because he will graduate this semester from Notre Dame and therefore will be eligible to transfer immediately and has one year of eligibility remaining thanks to redshirting during the '08 season.
For those of you not familiar with Dayne Crist, he is a former participant in the U.S. Army High School All-American game and has been an off and on starter for the Irish ever since stepping on to campus. So, why is he considering transferring? Well, he's been an oft injured player and has also been bouncing around the depth chart at Notre Dame, dealing with a few systems since heading to South Bend and by the end of 2011 may have slipped down to #3 on the depth chart.
According to the report Crist has Wisconsin very high on his list of places he'd like to go. Why haven't we covered this yet then? Well because it's hard for me to see a point in why we'd want Crist.
In the case of Wilson the transfer was mutually beneficial and many times throughout the season Bielema has stated that he wouldn't take in a transfer if it wouldn't be that way. True, Wisconsin's 2012 QB roster doesn't exactly inspire a ton of confidence that we have a known commodity on our hands, but that doesn't mean we have to go out and reach for someone like Crist either.
The Badgers already have two injury riddled QB's on the roster in Curt Phillips (3x ACL tear) and Sophomore Jon Budmayr (elbow injuries causing numbness in his throwing arm and hand). It's not known if or when either will be able to return to the field, so why would we want another QB with a massive injury history himself?
Beyond those two we will see a 2012 roster of sophomore Joe Brennan, redshirt freshman Joel Stave, and incoming freshman Bart Houston (verbal commitment) for sure at this point.
Brennan was able to show the Badgers faithful more and more as the season went on and seemed to gain a lot of confidence by the end of the year on mop up duty behind Russell Wilson and has gone 6 of 15 for 48 yards with 1INT on the season. Sure those aren't overwhelmingly great numbers, but it's a very small sample size and in the final games he got in he actually played quite well when getting the chance to throw the football. Getting the full playbook at your disposal can also change things and we know he was in to manage the game and basically to hand off to James White, Melvin Gordon, and Jeff Lewis to run out the clock.
The Badgers are clearly high on Stave and were happy that they were able to use a redshirt on him. He was the standout at QB in the 2011 Spring Game and according to those around the program he has only gotten better in fall camp and throughout the season on the scout team.
Then there's the case of the incoming Bart Houston. He's a consensus 4 star recruit and one of the most decorated QB's to ever come to Wisconsin. Interestingly he ran a option like offense at the famed De La Salle high school in Concord, California, so he's got great ability to run the ball and as a member of the ESPN RISE Elite 11 he's pretty clearly got the tools in the passing game as well. Sure, there's going to be pressure and assumptions that the starting role is his out of the gate, but with all those ahead of him it may be a case of him getting a shot come fall camp but ultimately sitting out a year while growing his body a bit more and adjusting to a more traditional offense.
You may be saying, o.k., great, we've got a ton of potential but nothing known about the 3 guys in position to take over the starting job in 2012, so why not bring in Crist? Well, he hasn't exactly set the world on fire in a pass first offense. In his 1 year as a full time starter at Notre Dame Crist only completed 59.2% of his passes for 2,033yds and just over a 2:1 TD to INT rate. Not exactly setting the world on fire if you ask me.
So, I say, why bring in an injury riddled QB who hasn't proven he can be elite at the expense of allowing the talent we have already on the roster to get a shot? At some point we're going to have to break in a new long term starting QB anyway, so why waste a scholarship on someone that's not even close to Wilson's level just to possibly find out what Notre Dame clearly knows, he's NOT a starting QB for an elitle level team.